Army disinvites Franklin Graham to speak at Pentagoncomment (0)
May 6, 2010
NASHVILLE — Backlash over Evangelist Franklin Graham speaking at the Pentagon as part of the National Day of Prayer observance has prompted the U.S. Army to rescind an invitation it had extended to the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
Graham, son of Billy Graham and this year’s honorary National Day of Prayer Task Force chairman, is being criticized for comments he has made in the past expressing his belief that Islam is a dangerous religion.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on April 19 “demanding” that the Pentagon choose a more inclusive speaker for the event.
According to Reuters, the Army said it did not invite Graham to speak at the event organized through the Pentagon chaplain’s office. The invitation was extended to the task force, which in turn asked Graham to speak.
“Once the Army leadership became aware that Rev. Graham was speaking at this event, we immediately recognized it as problematic,” Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, said. “The bottom line here is that his presence would be inappropriate. His past statements are not consistent with the multifaith emphasis and inclusiveness of this event.”
In a statement released April 22, Graham said he regrets that the Army felt it was necessary to rescind the invitation to the task force, and he expressed strong support for the U.S. military and said he would continue to pray for the troops.